07/29/2011 10:50AM

Assiniboia: Ruby's Big Band sharp for Winnipeg Sun


Ruby’s Big Band, back on target with a front-running win in the one-mile Canada Day at Assiniboia Downs, will be looking to double up when she races just four rivals in Sunday’s Winnipeg Sun.

The $25,000 Winnipeg Sun, a 1 1/16 mile race for fillies and mares, will go as the seventh of eight races on a special Sunday card that provides a prelude to Monday’s Manitoba Derby program.

Ruby’s Big Band, a Texas-bred who races for owner Terry Propps, was the top local 3-year-old filly at last year, winning the one-mile Assiniboia Oaks via a disqualification and the 1 1/16-mile Jack Hardy on her own merits. Trained by Charlie Smith, Ruby’s Big Band concluded that Winnipeg campaign with a third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Matron, which was her first try against older fillies and mares.

This year, Ruby’s Big Band has traded decisions with Golden Stripe, and the two will meet again in the Winnipeg Sun.

Golden Stripe emerged as the top older female at Assiniboia last year with victories in the Canada Day and in the restricted Distaff, which followed a close-second place finish in the Winnipeg Sun.

Golden Stripe and Ruby’s Big Band met this spring in the six-furlong La Verendrye, with Golden Stripe winning and Ruby’s Big Band beaten 3 3/4 lengths as the third-place finisher. The tables were turned in the July 1 Canada Day, however, as Golden Stripe pressed Ruby’s Big Band throughout but could not get by and wound up 1 1/4 lengths back as the runner-up.

Ruby’s Big Band was getting two pounds from Golden Stripe there, but both are weighted at 123 pounds for the Winnipeg Sun along with newcomer Ballistic Blonde. Rohan Singh retains the mount on Ruby’s Big Band, with Janine Stianson getting the call on Golden Stripe from trainer Shelley Brown.

Claimed for $25,000 from her last start, which came at Prairie Meadows, Ballistic Blonde then was sold privately and makes her local debut for trainer Jared Brown.

Ballistic Blonde was competitive at the second-level allowance condition in four middle-distance tries in Iowa and should make her presence felt in Sunday’s company under new rider Mark Anderson.

Rounding out the Winnipeg Sun lineup are Witch’s Coven, who was a distant third in the Canada Day, and Mistress Bell, who was a non-threatening fourth in that field of eight.